Wisdom tooth extraction is a safe, routine procedure. Most patients heal in just a few days, although you may have a slightly longer recovery period if your wisdom teeth were impacted.
However, as with any surgery, complications can occur afterward. In many cases, however, you can take steps to minimize your risk of complications.
Possible Complications after Wisdom Tooth Removal
Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a condition that affects some tooth extraction patients.
When the wisdom teeth are removed, blood clots form in the sockets. Sometimes, a blood clot can dissolve or become dislodged before the extraction site has fully healed. The underlying nerves and bone are then left exposed, leading to pain that radiates from the socket.
Infection in the socket is also possible after wisdom teeth surgery.
Tooth extractions make it easier for food particles and bacteria to enter the gums. When that happens, infection can set in, resulting in pain, swelling, fever and difficulty opening the mouth.
Very rarely, extracting the wisdom teeth can cause complications with the nearby teeth or jawbone. Nerve damage or problems with the sinus cavities are also possible, though rare, following the oral surgery procedure.
Tips for a Smooth Recovery from Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Reducing your risk of post-extraction complications is as easy as following a few simple directions.
Keeping your mouth clean after wisdom tooth surgery is a must. Brush and floss your other teeth as you normally do, taking care to avoid the empty sockets. Unless your aftercare instructions tell you otherwise, clean the extraction site with a gentle saltwater rinse — no swishing, however.
Avoid smoking while you’re healing from wisdom tooth removal. Try to go at least 24 hours without a cigarette, as the act of inhaling can easily dislodge a blood clot and lead to dry socket and an increased risk for infection.
Drinking through a straw can have the same effect. What you eat also matters. Stick to a soft-food diet for a few days to prevent damage to the extraction site.
Finally, for a smoother recovery, avoid physically strenuous activities. Taking it easy for a few days can help prevent post-surgical complications.
What to Do About Wisdom Tooth Extraction Complications
If you experience complications after your wisdom tooth surgery, contact our office immediately.
Depending upon your symptoms, you may need to come into the office for further treatment. If we don’t feel that’s necessary, we may recommend that you try ice packs, warm compresses or over-the-counter medication for relief from pain and swelling.
The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, has extensive experience with wisdom tooth surgery. We take every precaution to help minimize the risk of complications. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule a consultation today to discuss wisdom tooth extraction.